Ambergris Caye luckily has something we like to call “Island Economics.” When investing in an island, there is only so much land available. The limitations on available land create scarcity, not only scarcity of property but also a scarcity of land and completed resale homes. There is only so much land on an island. Island economics means that you see greater property appreciation on an island due to scarcity of property and limitations on how much can be built.
Tourism growth, increased awareness, offshore residency, and improved connectivity have all led to higher investment yields on vacation rental properties on Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town (the municipality on the island of Ambergris Caye) are by far the top destinations in Belize. Below, we look at the updated tourism data and vacation rental investment opportunities on Ambergris Caye!
Ambergris Caye Tourism
Ambergris Caye has seen tourism hitting all-time highs year-over-year as we become a globally recognized destination. From 2010 to 2023 (13 years), Ambergris Caye overnight tourism (people booking rental units) has grown at an annual compounded rate of 14.8% per year increase, with overnight tourism nearly doubling from 2010 to 2023 (+81.5% increase).
Even though tourism is growing, the total rooms for rentals have stayed stagnant, with limited new losing inventory and often even a decline in inventory. Tourism is growing, and this usually correlates to added supply; that said, Ambergris Caye, Belize, is at the perfect time for investment as we have unique market conditions that have led to increased demand and a decrease in supply inventory.
Rental Inventory on Ambergris Caye has dropped by -4% from 2022 to 2023. Also dropped -13.9% over the last 3 years. This is largely due to the influx of people moving to Belize and the growing expat community and people who can work remotely.
Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Lodging Inventory
For lodging, as a point of reference, Ambergris Caye saw -4% from last year. Lodging inventory for vacation rentals on Ambergris Caye has seen a -13.9% decrease over the last 3 years.
Ambergris Caye has had a compounded annual tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.8% per year.
As you can see, the 3-year trend has been consistent, with many quarters witnessing a dip in rental inventory (even with an increase in demand). This creates a unique opportunity for investors. With the shortage in supply and increase in demand, there is a need for more lodging and rentals.
Increase in Demand + Decrease in Supply = Increase in Price & Rent
Many industry experts predict Ambergris Caye real estate prices and nightly rental rates will continue to increase. This will lead to greater equity appreciation and a higher cash-flow yield.
Even though demand is on the rise, the supply has remained stagnant. With increased awareness comes increased demand, but the lodging and vacation rental inventory supply does not meet the demand growth.
Ambergris Caye Occupancy
In 2022, Ambergris Caye had an average vacation rental occupancy of 54.8%. In 2023, the average occupancy of vacation rentals has been at 61.3%. This is an increase of +11.9% year-over-year (2022 to 2023).
Ambergris Caye Nightly Rental Rates
In 2023, Ambergris Caye has seen ADR (Nightly Rental Rates) for vacation rentals increase by +15% from 2022. In 2023, the average nightly rental rate on Ambergris Caye has been $284 USD per night, which is up from $262 USD per night in 2022.
Ambergris Caye Investment Revenue
The increase in tourism with the lodging and vacation rental supply shrinking has led to higher occupancy and higher nightly rental rates (ADR). The increased occupancy and ADR have resulted in higher revenues. On Ambergris Caye, vacation rental gross revenue is up 30% in 2023 (from 2022).
Annual Average Rental Revenue
What is fascinating is the renal income for detached homes over condos (and the % annual growth).
Detached homes on Ambergris Caye have seen an average annual gross revenue of $88,850 US in 2023 (Airbnb income). Compared to condos, which saw an average gross yearly earnings of $44,300 US. Detached homes also saw a higher % growth at 23% annual revenue growth (condos with 14%) from 2022 to 2023.
Are you considering offshore Belize residency? Belize makes immigration and residency easy for investors, expats, and retirees looking to obtain Belize residency (for personal or investment).
Belize has been gaining increased popularity among foreigners, retirees, investors, and digital nomads. The Belize residency programs provide enhanced investment and travel opportunities.
In Belize, English is the primary language, and Belize’s legal system is based on British Common Law (a member of the British Commonwealth). Because of the British Common Law and British Parliamentary Democracy, Belize has a stable, democratic government and a stable and dynamic economy (also stable currency pegged 2:1 with USD).
For expats and investors, obtaining Belize residency is not prohibitive like in other countries. Residency in Belize is relatively straightforward, with a few routes available. For expats or retirees, Belize has the Qualified Retired Persons Program and the new Retire & Invest Program. These are great incentives for individuals looking to call Belize home and looking for long-term residency in Belize.
Belize also has investment residency programs that appeal to potential property owners and investors. In Belize, foreigners purchasing land or property are afforded the same rights as Belize citizens regarding property ownership.
Belize has full foreign ownership, and foreign investors can own Belize property outright with a fee-simple title. Belize is also a low-tax jurisdiction, with no capital gains or inheritance taxes (estate tax) in Belize.
The location of Belize (close proximity to the US & Canada), its warm Caribbean climate, low taxes, and welcoming culture make it an attractive place to invest, work, retire, and reside. The Belize residency programs also provide opportunities to travel, start a business, and optimize taxation.
This post provides information on obtaining Belize residency as well as the different residency programs Belize offers and the requirements.
Types of Belize Residency
Belize offers two distinct types of Residency status for foreigners:
Permanent Residency: Permanent Residency would be suited for someone looking at being a resident in Belize. Permanent residency in Belize is for a person (or persons) who want to make Belize their home and will be staying in Belize for an extended period of time.
Temporary Residency: Temporary Residency is for a person (or persons) who have made or are in the process of making a substantial investment in Belize (often in Belize real estate) but, due to commitments outside Belize, cannot meet ordinary Permanent Residence requirements.
For persons applying for Permanent Residency in Belize, you are required to:
Have been legally residing in Belize for at least one year from submitting a residency application.
During the one-year period, you have not left Belize for more than 14 days (2 weeks).
Show proof to the Belize Immigration Office that you have been, and you will be able to continue financial stability and independence.
Have not been convicted by a competent court in any country of a criminal offense for which you may have been liable to a sentence of imprisonment of twelve months or more and have not received a free pardon for the crime.
Documents Required for Permanent Residency
Medical Certificate and Tests
Proof of Financial Stability
Spouse and Child’s Documentation
A Temporary Residence (Temporary Residency) status can be given for one (1) year at a time. The temporary residency must be renewed every year. The temporary residency status becomes renewable at the end of that given period.
For persons applying for Temporary Residency, you are required to:
Apply for temporary residency (temporary investment residency).
Show evidence of investments in Belize valued at not less than Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand US Dollars – US $250,000 (five hundred thousand Belize Dollar – BZ$500,000).
Here is a general overview of residency options in Belize:
Tourist Visa: Most visitors to Belize can enter the country as tourists without a visa and stay for up to 30 days. Extensions for up to 90 days are possible, but they come with associated fees. This is not a long-term residency option.
Permanent Residency: Belize offers several pathways to permanent residency:
Retired Persons Program: This program is designed for retirees. To qualify, you must be at least 45 years old, provide proof of a consistent income, and meet certain financial requirements.
QRP (Qualified Retirement Program): The QRP is an attractive option for retirees. It provides tax benefits and allows for permanent residency. To qualify, you should be at least 45 years old, have a consistent income, and meet the financial requirements.
Self-Employed Program: If you plan to start a business in Belize, you can apply for permanent residency under this program. You’ll need to invest a certain amount of money in your business and meet other requirements.
Naturalization Residency: The typical way people achieve Belizean residency is through the naturalized residency program. To obtain naturalized residency in Belize, you have to show you have been in Belize for a year (48 out of 50 weeks).
Work Permits: If you plan to work in Belize, you will need a work permit. These permits are generally tied to employment, and your employer will often need to sponsor your application.
Investor Residency: Belize offers opportunities for investors to obtain residency by making substantial investments in the country. The specifics of this program can vary, and it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney for details.
Dependent Residency: If you have close family members who are legal residents or citizens of Belize, you may be eligible for dependent residency. This typically applies to spouses, children, or parents of Belizean citizens or residents.
Keep in mind that the process for obtaining residency in Belize can vary from person to person. People have different processes, which may involve various documentation, fees, and specific requirements. It’s advisable to work with someone who specializes in Belizean immigration to guide you through the process and ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements.
Belize Tourist Visa
You do not need to have residency to live or invest in Belize. Residency is not required to own a property (foreigners have the same ownership rights as locals/nationals). Residency is also not needed to be in Belize or visit Belize. If you are visiting Belize (as an American or Canadian), you do not require a travel visa.
When you enter Belize (as a tourist), you are issued a 30-day tourist visa in your passport. Belize is a very easy country to travel to, and US & Canadian travelers do not require any visas when traveling to Belize. The majority of countries and passports can travel to Belize freely and without a visa for 30 days.
Visitors can continue to renew their tourist visa if they want to stay in Belize without restrictions on length (as long as they get their visa renewed).
Americans & Canadians can travel to Belize and remain in Belize without time constraints. When a visitor arrives in Belize, they are issued a 30-day
Permanent residents in Belize can work without a permit and no longer need to renew their visas every month or year. The naturalized residency (which requires time) is the most common route for Belize residency.
To be eligible for permanent residency in Belize, you need to live continuously in the country for one year without leaving the country for over 14 days. You must apply through the Department of Immigration and Nationality Services.
The typical way people achieve Belizean residency is through the standard residency program. To obtain residency in Belize, you have to show you have resided in Belize for a year, and have been in Belize for 48 weeks of the year. This is a naturalized residency.
Belize Investment Residency
The Belize Investment Residency program is designed for investors and entrepreneurs with investments in Belize valued at a minimum of $250,000 US.
The most common Belize investment for residency is through Belize real estate investment or owning Belize land. You can apply for the investment residency through proof of land or real estate in Belize valued above $250,000 US.
The most common sector is real estate investment, but there is also business investment. There are no restrictions on the business or any fixed sector to invest in. You can invest in tourism, agriculture, etc. This allows you to live, work, and conduct investments and business in Belize.
The investment residency can be done remotely. A person applying for the investment residency does not need to be in Belize to file this application.
The Belize Investment Residency is also called the “Temporary Investment Residency” and allows investors in Belize to obtain residency if they show they have invested over $500,000 BZ ($250,000 US) in Belize. This is most commonly done through real estate. The reason it is called “Temporary” is that you have to show every year that the investment continues in Belize.
Investment Residency is for one (1) year at a time. The temporary investment residency must be renewed every year.
If you are over the age of 45, have no intention of working in Belize, and can prove you meet the monthly retirement income requirements, you may qualify for the QRP (Qualified Retired Person) Program. The QRP program grants residency to people who hold status. The QRP is renewable each year, with the only requirement being that you spend a minimum of 30 days of the year in Belize.
If you plan to work in Belize as a foreigner, you may require a “Work Permit.”
If you are planning to work for a company in Belize, the company hiring you will sponsor the work permit on your behalf. Suppose you are self-employed or planning to start a business in Belize (and work at the business). In that case, you likely need to apply for a self-employed foreigner or business registration.
If you do not apply for a residency status and continue to work and live in Belize, the work permit will be renewed annually.
After living in Belize for at least five years as a permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalization. The requirements for naturalization can change, so it’s essential to check the most recent criteria.
Once you’ve been a permanent resident for at least five years, you can apply to become a citizen of Belize. Belize allows dual citizenship, which means you can maintain Belizean and offshore citizenship (and passports). It is attractive for investors as they do not have to relinquish their domestic citizenship when they acquire Belizean Citizenship.
Belize recognizes dual citizenship. The Nationality Department does not require you to renounce citizenship from other countries.
Once you have Belize citizenship, you get the benefits of Belize’s CARICOM membership. With Belizean Citizenship, you can move freely through, live, and work in other Caribbean member countries.
Belize Residency Process
The process for residency varies depending on the person and the program. That said, generally, the residency process goes as follows;
Step 1: Gather the required documents
Step 2: Submission of application
Step 3: Interview with Immigration
Step 4: Interview with Police Department
Step 5: Notification by the Immigration Office
Step 6: Payment and Submission of Security Bond
Step 7: Delivery of Residence Card
Belize Residency is relatively easy to acquire. You will need to follow the necessary steps. All applications are also subject to a background check or Police Record Check.
Residency in Belize
Belize offers a good range of visa and residency options covering just about any reason for being in Belize. Which option is right for you depends on your purpose for being in Belize:
Long-term Scouting Trip: If you’re visiting Belize to test if it might be right for you as a new home, the Belize Tourist Visa (with renewals) will be your best choice.
Snowbird or Wintering in Belize: If you’re escaping the bitter cold of “home” for several months each year or using Belize as a part-time vacation home, the Belize Tourist Visa (with renewals) is also your best option.
Retiring in Belize: If you plan to retire and move to Belize with no intention of working (or running your own business), you should look at the Qualified Retirement Program. If you plan on opening a business or investing, you may want to look at the new Retire & Invest Program (through QRP and BTB).
Moving to Belize: If you want to move to Belize but plan to work (or run your own business), a Work Permit may be the right direction. After a year, you can have naturalized Belizean residency.
Investing in Belize: If you are looking to invest in Belize and have an offshore residency through investment, the Temporary Investment Residency could likely be a great option.
If you seek to obtain offshore residency with ease, with a minimal physical presence in the country, Belize residency may appeal to you. There are a few options and routes someone can take to obtain Belize residency. If you are looking at offshore residency or want to learn more about Belize Residency, contact us!
The Belize Investment Summit 2023 focused on attracting and promoting investment for economic development in Belize, identifying opportunities, and showcasing Belize’s readiness to support global investment.
The Prime Minister addressed the Summit, highlighting the government’s vision on enhanced and strategic investments and presentations from other high-profile international experts, policymakers, and enterprise movers and shakers who shape Belize’s investment climate. Dustin Rennie from RE/MAX Belize was included as one of the industry experts for real estate and development.
Тhrоughоut thе ѕummіt, аttеndееѕ bеnеfіtеd frоm іnѕіghtѕ ѕhаrеd bу іntеrnаtіоnаl ехреrtѕ, tор-tіеr рublіс оffісіаlѕ, Сhіеf Ехесutіvе Оffісеrѕ, аnd kеу роlісуmаkеrѕ. Тhеѕе ѕtаkеhоldеrѕ, whо соllесtіvеlу ѕhаре the іnvеѕtmеnt future of Belize. The summit featured a number of presentations and panels with а соmрrеhеnѕіvе оvеrvіеw оf thе орроrtunіtіеѕ аvаіlаblе іn Belize.
Belize Tourism Board
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), as part of their initiative to drive Tourism Investment in Belize, hosted a series of panel discussions at the Belize Investment Summit. The panels highlighted development success stories in Belize’s current and future opportunities. The panels provided guidance for persons wishing to invest in Belize.
Dustin Rennie was a Guest Panelist on the Investment and Real Estate Opportunities in Belize. Dustin contributed valuable insight into Belize’s real estate market, investment opportunities, and future development. On the panel, Dustin Rennie discussed real estate investment and setting up business in Belize and the requisite preparation in terms of a feasibility study to connect brands or investors with projects—review of Hotel Licensing Requirements and Accommodation taxes.
Simone Bell | Investment and Innovation Specialist, Belize Tourism Board
Dustin Rennie | Regional Director RE/MAX Belize Belize
John Lancet | Senior Managing Director & Practice Leader South & Caribbean, HVS (link)
Abil Castaneda | Chief Tourism Officer, Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations (link)
Dustin Rennie with RE/MAX Belize at the Belize Investment Summit 2023. The panel explored real estate investment and setting up business in Belize. Connecting brands and investors with projects. Dustin Rennie contributed valuable insight into Belize’s real estate market, investment opportunities, and development.
Dustin has been a Diamond Award winner with RE/MAX in 2021 & 2022 and was recognized as one of the top producers.
The Belize Investment Summit 2023 focused on attracting and promoting investment for economic development in Belize, identifying opportunities, and showcasing Belize’s readiness to support global investment. This included Belize real estate investment.
Buying Land in Belize for Less Than a Toyota Prius
Passport Heavy is one of the leading travel influencers and media channels on the internet. Passport Heavy is a bespoke travel & lifestyle brand specializing in shifting the paradigm in which people see and experience the world.
Founded in 2010 by Jubril Agoro, the Passport Heavy brand has grown from humble beginnings as a solo travel vlog into a highly recognized media brand and one of the most influential names in the travel content space.
Passport Heavy & Jubril Agoro fell in love with Belize (as many do) when they visited the Central America/Caribbean destination. After a decade spent journeying globally, Jubril made his first international real estate investment. In BELZE!
In the latest Passport Heavy video, learn the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind the decision to invest in Belize. From the enchanting allure of Belize to the nitty-gritty of navigating the real estate process in a foreign country, the latest Passport Heavy video (see link below) unpacks it all.
The tourism sector (a significant contributor to the Belize economy) was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with global tourism hitting a standstill. In 2019, tourism accounted for over 46% of Belize’s GDP. Fisheries, the second-largest source of employment in Belize, was also heavily affected. But Belize has made a quick comeback in the post-pandemic economic recovery.
In Belize, 1/4 (one in four) people are employed in the tourism sector or associated with the tourism industry. With such a large contribution to the country’s GDP and employment, the tourism sector’s strides since the pandemic has led to a quick bounce back. Belize has been aggressively marketing and expanding its reach, adding new direct international flights, broadening its reach, and positioning itself as a convenient and safe destination for sunseekers, investors, luxury tourists, eco-tourists, fishing enthusiasts, and divers. Belize’s proximity to the US (North America), affordable travel options, and the fact that Belize is English-speaking helped regain visitors’ confidence and led to a resurgence in Belize travel and the tourism industry.
In 2022, Belize witnessed an impressive 69.2% growth in overnight tourist arrivals (over 2021), with 370,524 visitors. However, it’s important to note that these numbers still fall short of the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, when over 500,000 tourists visited Belize. Additionally, cruise tourism saw a significant rebound, with 615,021 arrivals in 2022, representing a remarkable 192.6% increase compared to the previous year, 2021.
In Q1 2023, Belize saw an even higher tourism uptick than the prior year, with the highest Q1 inbound overnight tourism numbers. In Q1, 2023, Belize saw 143,319, overnight tourists. This is a 46.5% increase from Q1 2022.
JetBlue Starting Nonstop Route From New York to Belize
There was a big announcement for Belize tourism this week! JetBlue (a U.S. Airline) will launch a new direct flight to Belize. Not only is this a new airline beginning routes to Belize, but it is also a direct flight from one of the largest international cities in the world… New York City!
The new route from JetBlue will operate year-round with direct flights from New York (JFK) to Belize on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Belize has entered the world’s radar, and the popularity of Belize is growing. More-and-more travelers are coming to Belize to enjoy the tropical destination as more people discover the Caribbean beaches of Ambergris Caye, the local culture, and the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef.
JetBlue is now offering non-stop service from New York for the entire year starting in December 2023.
Non-Stop Flights From New York To Belize
Starting December 6, 2023, JetBlue will begin offering non-stop service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Belize City’s Philip W. Goldson Airport (BZE). Year-round service will operate round-trip flights on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
Scheduled flight times are the following (all times are local):
JFK to BZE: Departs at 8:29 a.m. and arrives at 12:14 p.m.
BZE to JFK: Departs at 1:30 p.m. and arrives at 7:00 p.m.
U.S. Cities with Direct Flights to Belize
With the new flight from JetBlue, 13 cities in the United States will now offer nonstop service to Belize. The latest flight route from New York will make JetBlue the 12th airline offering direct international flights to Belize!
New York City (JetBlue)
Denver (Southwest, United, Frontier)
Houston (Southwest, United)
Los Angeles (Alaska, American, United)
Minneapolis (Delta, Suncountry)
There are currently 21 cities and 7 countries with direct flights to Belize.
2023 Direct Flights to Belize
Belize Growth & Tourism
Over 68% of Belize’s overnight tourism arrivals are from the United States (according to BTB). Adding a direct flight from a city as large as New York significantly boosts Belize’s tourism.
Anthony Mahler, Belize’s Minister of Tourism, said, “This new route is a huge win for the government’s efforts to make Belize accessible to more US visitors.”
Belize is a country in Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Belize is unique as it has the mainland which is Central America and the islands which are Caribbean. There are several ways to get to Belize, including:
Air Travel to Belize
Many major airlines offer direct flights to Belize City from several cities in the United States, Canada, and Central America. The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City is the main airport in Belize, with several airlines offering daily flights.
It is estimated that around 81% of all international tourists travel come through the Belize International Airport. In 2023 it is even easier to travel to Belize with more international direct flights flying to Belize and the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) than ever before.
The only international airport in Belize is in Belize City, which is BZE (PhilipGoldsonInternational Airport). The airport handles all the international air travel to and from Belize.
Below you can see all of the direct flights to Belize as of the start of 2023 and the corresponding airline;
Most of the direct flights are from major US travel hubs, including; Houston (IAH), Denver, Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami (MIA). Belize also has direct flights from Canada (Toronto & Calgary). Belize also has international flights to popular Central American Destinations like Panama City, Cancun, Honduras, and Guatemala City.
Learn more about the direct flights to Belize below;
Belize is accessible by land from Mexico and Guatemala. There are several bus services that operate between Belize and these neighboring countries. It is important to check Belize visa requirements and border crossing regulations before attempting to cross the border by land.
Belize has 2 border crossings;
The Western Border (Benque Viejo Del Carmen)
The Northern Border (Santa Elena)
The Western Border (Guatemala & Belize)
Belize borders Guatemala to the West. Near San Ignacio, in the Cayo District, there is the Western Border. There is one main highway crossing of the border at Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District, Belize, and Melchor de Mencos, Peten, Guatemala.
The Northern Border (Mexico & Belize)
The Northern border is an international border between the countries of Belize and Mexico. Currently, there are two official crossings at the border, which are international bridges. The main bridge is located between Subteniente Lopez, Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Santa Elena, Corozal District, Belize.
Sea & Water Travel to Belize
Belize is a popular destination for cruise ships, with several major cruise lines offering stops in Belize City and other ports throughout the country.
Fort Street Tourism Village is the original Belize cruise ship port. The Fort Street Village port has several courtyards, snack bars, and local stores with duty-free shopping. Several restaurants offer authentic Caribbean, Belizean, and international cuisine, and there is often live local entertainment. The Fort Street Village Cruise Port is located in Belize City and is the most popular cruise ship terminal in Belize.
Harvest Caye Cruise Port
Harvest Caye is a newly opened docking port in the southern Stann Creek District (near Placenecia) that currently caters to Norwegian Cruise Line passengers.
Port Coral Cruise Ship Port
The Government of Belize has started a new “Cruise Ship Docking Facility” (passenger terminal) in Belize City. The new cruise ship port will be called “Port Coral”. The development project also includes building a resort and theme park on Stake Bank Caye – an island located approx 5 miles southeast of Belize City.
Named Port Coral or Stake Bank Cruise Ship Docking Facility. The new “Stake Bank Cruise Ship Docking Facility” or Port Coral will be 25 acres and have a docking capacity of 4 liners. Along with the 4 liner docking stations, the new terminal complex also includes a 60-slip yacht marina.
Construction at Port Coral, a new cruise ship docking facility is well underway and expected to open in 2022.
There is also a water taxi and ferry service which goes between Chethumal, Mexico, and San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye.
Belize has many beautiful areas and destinations. Each with its own uniqueness. With a diverse landscape of islands, beaches, and jungles, there are a lot of great places to own property in Belize. The best place to own depends on what a person is looking for. That said, you have options to choose from when considering buying property in Belize.
Belize has stunning white sand beaches, lush rainforests, and Mayan ruins, with the largest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere, Belize has recently emerged as one of the top emerging tourist destinations. Belize allows full foreign ownership, which makes it a popular offshore investment destination and a great place for buying property.
The growth in tourism has been accompanied by a dramatic rise in interest in Belize real estate. Belize has become one of the hottest places to invest, and retire in the region.
Some of the best places to buy property in Belize include:
Ambergris Caye is a popular destination for tourists and expats, with beautiful beaches and a vibrant community. Ambergris Caye (and San Pedro Town) are the top tourist destinations in Belize. With that, it is the most popular location to own and invest in property. Ambergris Caye real estate is by far the most desirable property option.
Ambergris Caye is an island on the northeastern coast of Belize. Ambergris Caye is the largest island in the country and is the most popular tourist destination. Ambergris Caye is loved for its long sandy beaches, laidback island Caribbean lifestyle, and its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef. A lot of Ambergris Caye has been set aside as a nature preserve, marine reserve, and national park, which adds to its appeal as the most popular destination for international buyers and people looking to own property in Belize.
San Pedro Town is the municipality on Ambergris Caye. San Pedro Town and the popularity of Ambergris Caye has it among the most in-demand and developed real estate investment destination in Belize.
Ambergris Caye is one of the most sought-after locations in Belize. Not only for tourism but also for property ownership. It is the undisputed top location. As the largest island in Belize, it has been ranked as one of the top destinations for retirement and investment by Forbes, International Living, MSNBC, and more. Ambergris Caye is famous for its proximity to the Belize Reef which attracts avid divers and fishers. The reef extends the East Coast of the island, and the West Coast boasts calm waters and beautiful beaches (like the popular Secret Beach).
Ambergris Caye also offers abundant options for different kinds of water-based activities, including scuba diving the Belize Barrier Reef, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, reef fishing, jet skis, paddle boarding, kayaking, and more. Ambergris Caye also has great restaurants offering fine dining options as well as an amazing expat community.
Ambergris Caye is commonly referred to as the “Isla Bonita” (which is “the Beautiful Island”). With all it has to offer, there are few who disagree that Ambergris Caye is one of the top choices for expats who were looking to relocate to Belize or investors looking to invest in an emerging island destination.
San Pedro Belize Travel Guide (on Ambergris Caye)
Placencia is a town at the very tip of a peninsula located in the southern part of Belize in the Stan Creek District. Placencia is a small, peaceful village on the southern coast of Belize with stunning beaches and a relaxed atmosphere.
Placencia has grown over the years along the peninsula to include; Seine Bight, Cocoplum, Maya Beach, and Plantation. Placencia is an ideal location for buyers looking to enjoy a tranquil lifestyle by the beach.
Placencia is a picturesque village located in the Stann Creek District of Belize, situated on a narrow peninsula along the Caribbean coast. Known for its beautiful beaches, laid-back atmosphere, and vibrant local culture, Placencia is a popular destination for travelers seeking a tropical paradise. It is often ranked in the top 3 destinations in Belize (behind Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker).
The Placencia Peninsula (which is made up of multiple municipalities) stretches for approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) and offers stunning white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. The village itself is charming, with colorful wooden houses, local shops, restaurants, and beachfront bars.
In addition to water activities, Placencia offers various land-based adventures as well as lush jungles and hiking trails in the area. You can explore the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to the world’s first jaguar reserve and offers hiking trails, birdwatching, and the chance to spot other wildlife. Nearby Monkey River also provides opportunities for wildlife viewing, including howler monkeys, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species.
To reach Placencia, you can fly into the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City and then take a domestic flight to the Placencia Airport. Alternatively, you can take a scenic drive from Belize City, which takes around three to four hours.
Placencia Belize Trip
Caye Caulker is the smaller island that is just south of Ambergris Caye. Caye Caulker also sees a significant volume of tourists. Though the tourism to Caye Caulker is more backpackers with a number of local hostels. While there are many water sports, and activities similar to Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker is becoming better known for its nightlife. This makes it a popular location for the younger crowd.
Caye Caulker is also located near the Belize Barrier Reef, which makes it popular for diving and fishing enthusiasts. The southern half of the island is mostly developed and the northern portion is separated from the town by “The Split” which is a narrow waterway that runs through the middle of the island.
Caye Caulker is a smaller island than Ambergris Caye which is known for its laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, Caye Caulker attracts tourists seeking a tranquil tropical getaway. The island is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) long and has a narrow width of about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile). It is characterized by sandy streets, colorful wooden houses, and a car-free environment. The main mode of transportation on the island is bicycles and golf carts.
Caye Caulker offers beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, making it a popular destination for snorkeling, diving, fishing, and other water activities. The Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest coral reef system in the world, is easily accessible from the island, offering incredible opportunities for underwater exploration.
The island has a small but lively village area with restaurants, bars, and shops. The local cuisine often features freshly caught seafood, including lobster, conch, and fish. Caye Caulker is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with various bars offering live music and entertainment.
Caye Caulker Island Belize
Cayo is near the Belize & Guatemala border (on the westward side of Belize’s mainland). Cayo is home to many Mayan ruins as well as lush jungles. Cayo is a rural area with a growing expat community, offering beautiful scenery and a laid-back lifestyle. Cayo’s most popular municipality is San Ignacio but the district is also the location of the Belizean capital of Belmopan.
The Cayo District is located in western Belize near the border with Guatemala. Cayo is a district and is the largest district in the country. Cayo is known for its natural beauty, ancient Maya ruins, and outdoor adventure opportunities. The Cayo District is home to the town of San Ignacio, which serves as a gateway to the various attractions in the area. San Ignacio offers a range of property options around Cayo. There are real estate opportunities in the jungle, farmland, remote resorts, and more.
One of the main attractions of the Cayo District is its proximity to the Maya archaeological sites. The most famous and impressive among them is Xunantunich. Other notable Maya sites in the region include Cahal Pech, Caracol, and Tikal.
Cayo also has numerous rivers and waterways throughout the district. There are also countless waterfalls including; Big Rock Falls, Thousand-Foot Falls, and Butterfly Falls to explore and enjoy.
The Cayo District is also home to several nature reserves and national parks. The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve showcases stunning waterfalls, natural pools, and the unique pine forests of Belize. The Belize Botanic Gardens and the Belize Zoo are also worth a visit for nature lovers.
Hopkins is a small fishing village on the coast of Belize with a close-knit community and beautiful natural surroundings. Hopkins is just north of Placencia near the town of Dangriga. Hopkins is popular for its small-town vibe.
Hopkins is primarily a fishing village with a laid-back and friendly atmosphere. It is very much a “small town”. The village is known for its strong Garifuna heritage, and visitors have the opportunity to experience the rich traditions and music of the Garifuna people.
The beach in Hopkins stretches for several miles, offering pristine white sand and clear turquoise waters. It is an ideal destination for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The warm Caribbean Sea is also a great spot for water activities such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and fishing.
One of the nearby attractions is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as the Jaguar Preserve. It is a vast protected area encompassing lush rainforests, waterfalls, and hiking trails. The sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including jaguars, howler monkeys, toucans, and many other species.
Belize City is the largest city in Belize and the economic hub of the country, with a range of property options available. Belize City is a coastal city and the location of the Belize International Airport (Philip Goldson International) which is the only international airport in Belize.
Belize City serves as the commercial hub and principal gateway for international travelers arriving in Belize. As the economic and cultural center of Belize, Belize City offers a mix of colonial history, bustling streets, and a vibrant local atmosphere. The city has a rich and varied heritage, with influences from the Maya civilization, European colonization, and the African, Creole, and Garifuna cultures.
Although Belize City is not typically considered a major tourist destination, it does have some points of interest worth exploring.
Corozal is the border town between Belize and Mexico and the northeastern shore of Belize.
Corozal is a town located in northern Belize, near the border with Mexico (close to Quintana Roo & the Yucatan Peninsula). It is a coastal town/region with Chethumal across the border on the Mexico side. Corozal Town is the capital of the Corozal District and is situated on the Bay of Corozal, which connects to the Caribbean Sea. Across the bay/lagoon sea is the island of Ambergris Caye.
Most people who looking at buying property in Corozal are very underwhelmed and often pursue something elsewhere. In Corozal, there are not as many opportunities for foreign investment. Corozal is on the bayside and is more of a border town between Mexico and Belize than anything. With this, you have a lot of logistics and supply chain traffic going through. Think of it as a tropical truck stop rather than an “off-the-beaten-path real estate investment”.
The town of Corozal has a rich history, with influences from both the Maya civilization and later European colonization. It was originally inhabited by the Maya people, and several archaeological sites, such as Santa Rita, can be found in Corozal. The town of Corozal was settled by Mestizo refugees from the Yucatan Peninsula in the 19th century, and today it has a mix of cultural influences from Maya, Mestizo, and other ethnic groups.
Corozal offers a more relaxed and tranquil atmosphere compared to the busier tourist destinations in Belize. It has a small-town charm and a welcoming community. The town has a central park, known as Corozal Town Central Park, where locals gather and socialize. You can find restaurants, shops, and other amenities in the town center.
One of the main attractions in Corozal is the proximity to the beaches. The Bay of Corozal provides access to the Caribbean Sea, and there are several beach areas where you can swim, sunbathe, or enjoy water sports. Some popular nearby beaches include Consejo Shores, Sarteneja, and Corozal Bay.
Corozal is also known for its proximity to Cerros, an ancient Maya site situated on a coastal ridge. If you’re interested in exploring the natural beauty of the region, you can visit the Shipstern Nature Reserve. It is a protected area with diverse ecosystems, including mangroves, wetlands, and wildlife.
To reach Corozal, you can fly into the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City and then take a domestic flight or a bus to Corozal. The town is also accessible by road from Mexico, as it is located near the Mexican border.
Best Place to Own Belize Property
Ambergris Caye luckily has something we like to call “Island Economics”. When investing in an island there is only so much land available. The limitations on available land create scarcity, not only scarcity of property but also scarcity of land. There is only so much land on an island. Island economics means that you see greater property appreciation on an island due to scarcity of property and limitations on how much can be built.
Areas and destinations on the mainland with nearly endless developable land rarely see the same level of equity appreciation. One of the difficulties of investing in a property that has nearly endless room for growth (the mainland) is the fact that developers continue to build, so real estate investors don’t see the same level of appreciation that they see on an island, where the availability of land is limited.
This is basic economics, Ambergris Caye has higher demand and less supply. Mainland destinations in Belize have less demand and nearly unlimited supply. On Ambergris Caye, you have far more amenities (with the reef 400 yards off the coast), as well as beaches on the East & West Coast.
In Belize, there are some cheaper and less expensive property options. That said, not all Belize real estate is created equal. One of the most famous quotes from Warren Buffett is, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.”
It is important to conduct thorough research on the area and property you are considering and to consult with a qualified real estate agent to ensure that you are making a sound investment that meets your needs and aligns with your goals. If you are looking to buy property in Belize, contact RE/MAX Belize!
There are two types of Residency status in Belize. If you are looking for residency status in Belize, you can apply to be a Permanent Resident or Temporary Resident.
Permanent Residency is applied when a person (or persons) wants to make Belize their home and will be staying in Belize for a long period of time. The applicant has plans to reside and live in Belize.
Temporary Residency can also be granted to people looking for status in Belize and show they have invested in Belize. A temporary resident can be a person who has made a substantial investment in Belize (often Belize Real Estate) but, due to commitments outside Belize, cannot meet ordinary Permanent Residence restrictions.
Temporary Residence status is given for a period of only one (1) year and becomes renewable at the end of that given period. If someone is applying for the investment residency, they need to show every year that the investment has remained in Belize.
The “Temporary Investment Residency” allows investors in Belize to obtain residency if they show they have invested over $500,000 BZ ($250,000 US) in Belize. This is most commonly done through real estate. The reason it is called “Temporary” is that you have to show every year that the money has remained in Belize.
For persons applying for Temporary Residence in Belize, you are required to
Show evidence of investments in Belize valued at not less than five hundred thousand Belize Dollars – BZ$500,000 ($250,000 US)
Copy of Receipt of Acceptance (Provided by Immigration Department upon submission)
Completed Application form
Letter stating reasons for applying for Temporary Residence
Complete Copy of Passport
Police Record (From Belize)
Police Record from last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from date of issue)
A medical certificate, HIV, VDRL, and TB results
Evidence of place of residence in Belize, i.e., rental/lease agreement with a current utility bill showing the applicant’s name and same address OR property title with property tax assessment
Evidence of investments in Belize officially valued no less than $250,000 US ($500,000 BZ) and where available.
Real Estate Ownership
Business bank statements
An official valuation of equipment and buildings to be used in business/investment
Company Registration Certificate
Articles of Association and/or Summary of Share Capital.
Trade license in Belize
Belize Social Security Registration
Belize General Sales Tax Registration – Belize Business Tax Assessment
Income Tax Letter
Recent Bank Statement (If Applicable) Statement must show transactions to Belize/banking activity in Belize
Marriage Certificate (If Applicable)
(3) Passport-size Photographs
Social Security Card (If Applicable)
Contribution History from Social Security or Declaration stating non-contribution and why.
Inclusion of Spouse
Complete Copy of Passport
Police Record (From Belize)
Police Record from the last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from the date of issue) 4. Medical Certificate, HIV, VDRL, and TB results
Income Tax Letter
Recent Bank Statement (If Applicable) Statement must show transactions to Belize/banking activity in Belize
Letter of Financial Support
(3) Passport-size Photographs
Social Security Card (If Applicable)
Contribution History from Social Security (if applicable)
Inclusion of Children
Birth Certificate Copy
Complete Copy of Passport
Police record (From Belize. (If the minor is 12+years)
Police Record from last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from date of issue if child 12+ years)
Medical Certificate (All minors), HIV, DRL, and TB results (If the minor is 12+ years)
(3) Passport-size Photographs
Letter of Financial Support
Notarized Letter of Authorization/Consent from the parent not making the application and
Notarized copy of ID If not in Belize.
Belize is one of the easiest countries in the region to obtain residency. There are quite a few ways you can apply and get residency and the route will depend on your personal circumstances. When you land in Belize, you are issued a 30-day tourist visa. You can stay in Belize as long as you want as long as you renew the tourist visa.